Virgin Voyages has selected Melbourne as the Australian homeport for its Australasia deployment, shunning Sydney in favour of the Victorian capital. The adults-only cruise line has similarly chosen Auckland as its New Zealand homeport for the 2023/24 season.
As exclusively foreshadowed to the trade first by LATTE, Virgin Voyages plans to station Resilient Lady in the waters of Australia and New Zealand from late 2023. Her debut cruise is a 44-night sailing from Athens to Sydney, via Dubai and Singapore.
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Nirmal Saverimuttu, Virgin Voyages’ President and Chief Experience Officer said: “Australia and New Zealand are without question the most beautiful countries in the world, and we knew that these destinations, paired with the Virgin Voyages experience, will make it the most incredible holiday for our Sailors. The Virgin brand is known and adored by Australians and New Zealanders and we are committed to delivering a holiday experience you will love and memories that will last a lifetime.”
Virgin Voyages is offering a dozen itineraries aboard Resilient Lady for its inaugural Australian season – a mix of 2-, 5-, 6-, 10-, 11-, 12- and 14-night domestic Australia or TransTasman cruises. The cruise line says the season starting from Station Pier in Port Melbourne will run from 11 December 2023 to 27 March 2024.
The “Aussie MerMaiden” voyage will be a 5-night roundtrip cruise to Tasmania.
While down under, port calls flagged include Hobart and Burnie in Australia and Picton, Napier, Tauranga, Auckland, Christchurch and Dunedin in New Zealand.
Among the range is the 6-night Resilient Pacific Island Holidays voyage on 23 December that incorporates Christmas, plus a 14-night Resilient Pacific New Year’s Ahoy cruise from Melbourne to Auckland, departing on 29 December.
Intriguingly, as LATTE previously flagged, Resilient Lady is scheduled to arrive in Sydney for the first time on the morning of 5 December 2023. That leaves six full days where Resilient Lady has no officially scheduled sailings ahead of her Melbourne debut on the 11th, potentially leaving a window open for a series of travel trade and media sampler sailings from and around Sydney, and on to Melbourne.
The confirmation of Virgin Voyages’ Australia deployment coincides with the First Mates Roadshow in Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Sydney and Melbourne – also revealed first exclusively by LATTE – which commenced today in Queensland.
Resilient Lady is the third ship in Virgin Voyages’ fleet. She is a sister ship to Scarlet Lady, and the just-launched Valiant Lady. The name of the fourth vessel in Virgin’s flotilla was this week revealed as Brilliant Lady.